The Integrated Negotiator: A Look into the Role of the Conservation Officer at the Planning and Building Office
Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
This thesis looks into what it can be like to work as a conservation officer at a planning and building office in a Swedish municipality. Through five interviews with different conservation officers I have researched their perception of their role as conservation officers and their personal experiences of theirevery day professional work. The thesis topic has its starting point in my understanding that there has been a shift in the role of the conservation officer during the last couple of decades towards a more explicit partaking in urban physical planning. Much because it is seen as a more powerful tool and place to be in for more effective preservation and maintenance of built cultural heritage. In order to relate the outcomes of my interviews I have laid out a context made out of theories on rational as well as communicative planning; how the professional role is created, sustained and developed and organizational culture and value-analysis of built cultural heritage.
The interviews lead up to a discussion where I reflect on the importance for such professionals to have communicative skills of listening, learning, negotiating, and be able to communicate your own interest in a pedagogical manner. The interviews also show that there can be seen to exist some differences in the roles of the more traditional free-standing conservation officer working at the museum and the more integrated conservation officer working in the planning and building office. The organizational structures at the museum and the planning and building office are different and the organizations have different goals (one stands for preservation, the other for development). This means that the conservation officer at the planning and building office need to use a different kind of strategy in order to achieve their goals. They are involved in planning projects for a longer period of time which means that they have the possibility to influence the planning processes more than once. It also means that they need to learn how to pick their fights and realize when to take step back. They also need to be prepared to negotiate and compromise with other interests in the planning processes. The organizational culture at the working place is important for how efficiently the work is carried out. As a professional it is important to feel that your task has support from your colleagues and that there are possibilities to influence the processes going on at the working place. The interviews also show that there are difficulties in making good valueassessments of cultural heritage and that such ground material is often difficult to understand for people working outside of the cultural heritage sector. One aspect is that it might be difficult to include all types of values, and that the conservation officer is the only one partaking in the process which can lead to values lost and that the process does not include a range of voices. Another aspect is that the ground material lack a sense of practicality in that there is no explaining what is actually possible to do with the cultural heritage sites. Other parties in the planning processes need suggestions on how the built cultural heritage can be developed, not only on how it should be preserved.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. , 50 p.
SoM EX, 2011-07
conservation, preservation of built cultural heritage, urban planning, systems of professions
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-90308OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-90308DiVA: diva2:504862
Subject / course
Degree of Master - Spatial Planning
KTH, Stockholm (English)
UppsokSocial and Behavioural Science, Law
Håkansson, Maria, Bitr univ lektor